Game Day Chili

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What are we serving up during this week’s Sunday Football? Chili from Raddish Kids! This might be the most fun Travis and I ever had making a recipe. For some reason it just had us laughing, talking about every ingredient, and otherwise having a blast. He wanted to be involved in every step, and stuck with it from first stir to final bubble over the stove.

First, prepare the spice mix: In a small bowl, we gently stirred together 2 tablespoons chili powder, 1 tablespoon cumin, 2 tablespoons cocoa powder, 1 teaspoon oregano, 1 teaspoon black pepper and 1 teaspoon salt. Set aside.

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Now it was chopping time! Working carefully together, we peeled an onion and chopped. Peel two carrots and cut into rounds. Cut the rounds in half. Peel a garlic clove and mince.

Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion, carrot, garlic, and 1 teaspoon salt; cook for 8 minutes, until soft.

Add 2 chopped red bell peppers (a vegan substitute for the original recipe’s ground beef) and the spice mixture to the pot; cook for 5 minutes.

Add 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes, and 1 (15-ounce) can tomato sauce. Meanwhile, drain 1 (15-ounce) can of pinto beans, 1 (15-ounce) can of black beans, and 1 (15-ounce) can of kidney beans. Travis loved rinsing these in the colander. Add the beans to a pot.

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Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 25 minutes. This was his favorite part; he proudly reported on the bubbles as soon as they appeared, made sure we had an even boil, not just one side of the pot (!) and then continued to eagerly watch before stepping carefully away from the stove. I appreciated that the recipe card featured stovetop safety tips, too.

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Serving time can be playful! Add your favorite toppings, whether non-dairy cheese and vegan sour cream, chopped green onions, or chopped avocado.

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Then mix it up all week! One night we served chili dogs…

Chili Dog

One night chili-cheese nachos…

Chili Nachos

And one night chili-stuffed baked potatoes.

Chili Potato

For a quick take on Chili Mac n Cheese, stir together roughly equal portions of your kids’ favorite boxed mac n cheese mix (we love Daiya!) with leftover chili.

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Scarecrow Craft Challenge

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This month’s craft challenge from Highlights was a chance for Travis to raid the recycle bin: what fun! Anything that normally might be off limits or taboo always seems to appeal to kids, it seems.

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Travis first pulled out an empty gallon water jug. This would be perfect for the face! He proudly drew on features with a marker.

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We found an empty brown bag that would be just the right size for the body. Crumpled newspaper worked perfectly as stuffing. I tied the handles of the bag tight to seal in the newspapers.

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He decided that empty soda cans would make good arms and legs for our stubby little fellow. I knew waiting for regular glue to dry would frustrate him, so swooped in with the hot glue gun.

We finished by decorating the brown bag torso with marker “clothing”. This was a great chance to watch Travis’s imagination at work! What might your recycled scarecrow look like? Please share in the comments!

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Counting Fish

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Veronika was gifted an adorable counting fish game, which reminded me of a rhyme I used to sing for big brother Travis.

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Both the tune and the counting elements are fun in this one, and Veronika is at a great age for counting rhymes. As we played with the fish, I sang:

One, two, three, four, five,

Once I caught a fish alive.

Six, seven eight nine, ten,

Then I let him go again.


Why did you let him go?

Because he bit my finger so.

Which finger did he bite?

This little finger on my right.

We counted out the fish one by one to the words…

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Or practiced letting the fish go when I sang that line.

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In sum, this is an adorable one to add to your repertoire, if you’re in need of new songs!

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When You Do This, I Do That

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Here’s a silly cause-and-effect game to play with your baby, one that had Veronika in fits of laughter.

First, I touched my nose, and then encouraged Veronika to reach out and do the same.

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Whenever she beeped my nose, I stuck my tongue out. After a few repeats, she got the idea that her action “caused” my tongue to pop out. Add silly sound effects and your baby will love it!

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Another fun one is to puff your cheeks up with air. I encouraged her to “unpop” my cheeks. When her hand brushed my cheek, I acted like the force made all the air come out.

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Again, big giggles.

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These kinds of cause-and-effect games are great for teaching your baby about the concept, plus reap lots of laughter as the reward.

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